The fact that the welder is close to the welding process and would therefore be completely exposed to the dangerous gases in the welding fumes without a fume extraction system is no surprise. But how is the situation when using a robot for welding? Do similar precautions need to be implemented as with manual welding? Just as with manual welding, the dangers of welding fumes should not be underestimated.
Toxic gases can also be released when using a welding robot
Basically, in terms of the process, it makes no difference whether welding is done by hand or with a welding robot. The gases in the welding fumes remain the same because the same materials are welded and the same filler materials are used. So the welding fumes that arise while using a welding robot are just as dangerous as when welding manually. The only difference is the distance to the process: whereas the welder is very close to the process, the distance cannot be accurately estimated when welding with a robot. The person who programmed the robot will not be as close to the welding process as the welder himself, but he may stay relatively close to the welding robot during the welding process. Close enough to need protection from toxic gases in the welding fumes as well.
Catching welding fumes directly at the source
For both manual and robotic welding torch applications, there is the option of using a hood over the welding process or welding cell for extraction. Additional curtains are used to keep the fumes from escaping into the surrounding area. In addition, fume can escape when the welding cell is opened for loading and unloading new parts.
During manual welding, the welder still comes into direct contact with the fume, since the hood cannot be placed directly at the process. In this case, extraction at the source is the only safe way. In the case of robotic welding, fume extraction directly where it is generated is the safest option as well. When the fume cannot enter the welding cell or production hall, all employees are protected.
Fume extraction by add-on system on the welding robot
Regardless of what type of welding robot it is (whether conventional robot or hollow-wrist robot), extraction is added to robotic welding with an add-on system. An extraction kit is installed on the robotic welding torch to collect the generated welding fumes directly at the source. The extraction hose is positioned along the outside of the welding robot. These add-on systems offer great flexibility, as they can be connected to welding robots from a wide range of manufacturers via adapters. In any case, fume extraction can be retrofitted at any time.
Fume extraction for welding robots - a must-have!
Anyone who has ever been in a large factory hall with several welding cells will be familiar with this image: If an extraction hood is not installed above the individual welding cells, welding fumes rise from each cell when the welding robot is working. The entire hall is covered in a dense mist. This mist, and especially the invisible particles of fume produced during welding, are harmful to the health of all employees in the hall. That's why it's worth considering retrofitting fume extraction for welding robots and making it a must-have for the future. Whether it's one or 100 welding robots.
Want more in-depth information on welding fume extraction?
Are you looking for more tips on automated welding? Read our blog: Welding with a robot – The 5 most common mistakes